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What is mass email?

A mass email is a message with primarily the same content or purpose that is sent to 100 or more recipients or is a repetitive communication sent to a particular group. All mass emails must meet the requirements defined in the UMass Amherst Mass Communication Policy, regardless of the UMass-supported platforms used to send messages. Also, all UMass communicators must successfully complete Best Practices Training before they can send mass communications.

UMass Amherst’s primary digital communications platform is Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Unifying campus communications under one digital communications platform is an important part of how we can meet brand guidelines for sending emails and engaging with our constituents. Specific benefits include:

  • Ensuring messages reach the intended recipients 
  • Providing an efficient platform for list management that is integrated with university data 
  • Utilizing shared templates that meet brand guidelines, are ADA compliant, and render well across all major devices and platforms
  • Delivering accessible data so communicators can constantly improve their communication and support the reputation of as a sender domain

Basic Requirements

All UMass Communicators must successfully complete Best Practices Training before they can start sending mass communications on any platform. 

All official UMass Amherst email communications must be clearly written without grammatical or spelling errors, must target the correct audience, and must meet UMass Amherst brand guidelines.

Accessibility Requirements

For an email to meet accessibility requirements it must:

  • maintain a logical reading order;
  • use heading elements in code;
  • include sufficient contrast between text and background colors;
  • provide text alternatives for images;
  • feature meaningful link text;
  • keep code concise;
  • use a descriptive subject line;
  • use a 12 point or larger font size; and,
  • use line spacing of 1.5 or larger.

Audience Management

Mass messages sent to all faculty, staff, and/or students are reserved for specific senders, such as the chancellor, and otherwise require approval from UMass Amherst University Relations. Mass messages sent within a school, college, or unit must be approved by senior leadership for the given group (such as a dean for a specific school or college, or their proxy) and should be sent from an appropriate mass communications platform.

Communicating with more than one constituent group and Alumni/donors

At UMass Amherst, email broadcasts are managed through University Relations (UR) Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The UMass Amherst Foundation (UMAF) uses a separate Marketing Cloud platform to manage alumni communications.

Both units provide strategic planning and coordination to achieve an optimal constituent experience and university objectives while maintaining the most current email addresses and opt-out preferences.

Each unit employs a distinct Salesforce Marketing Cloud (MC) instance for serving their respective constituent groups. Other email broadcast systems do not honor these constituent opt-out preferences and should not be used. Exceptions may include campus ticketing systems with an approved business need.

The intent of the communication and audience dictates which platform (UR or UMAF) to use. If a message is to be sent to more than one constituent group and alumni, then the message must be sent separately on the respective platforms. For example, a newsletter going to faculty, staff, students would be sent from University Relations instance, and the same newsletter to alumni would need to be sent via the UMAF instance.

When to utilize University Relations vs. UMAF Marketing Cloud

UMAF M C is used for engagement, volunteer, or fundraising initiatives for:

  • alumni;
  • donors;
  • friends;
  • parents; and,
  • faculty and staff.

Please contact UMAF.

UR MC is used for academic, financial, campus, or student life initiatives for:

  • students;
  • parents;
  • faculty and staff; and,
  • non-alumni affiliate groups.

Please direct inquiries to @email.


UMass Amherst mass email must:

  • include the appropriate official Tier 1, 2, or 3 university wordmarks at the top of a message;
  • use block M or a wordmark only once in the message;
  • use a wordmark that is a minimum of 180 pixels wide; and, 
  • follow all other applicable UMass Amherst brand guidelines.

CAN-SPAM Requirements

Commercial and transactional email messages must include all the following to comply with federal CAN-SPAM regulations:

  • a clear, non-deceptive "from" field using the name of the person or university unit sending the message and a email address;
  • a non-deceptive subject line that is consistent with the content in the email body text;
  • the wordmark graphic at the top or prominently placed within an HTML message; and,
  • “University of Massachusetts” clearly identified in plain text messages and in the text-only portion that accompanies an HTML message.

Commercial emails and transactional emails have different content requirements for the message footer.

  • Both commercial and transactional emails must include the name and physical mailing address of the sending unit (e.g., "This message was sent to weekly newsletter subscribers by the Office of the Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 347 Whitmore Building, Amherst, MA 01003.").
  • Commercial emails must include an opt-out or unsubscribe link. If possible, the opt-out or unsubscribe link should state specifically what messages they will unsubscribe from (e.g., “unsubscribe from the Communication Blog”).
  • Transactional messages should never have an unsubscribe link.
  • Both commercial and transactional emails include a link to the university's privacy policy.


Personalization in email, specifically using a first name in the subject line and/or as a greeting in an email, can result in more people opening and reading your email. However, personalization should be used judiciously.

Best-use cases are:

  • recruitment emails to prospects in which the recipient has supplied their preferred name; and, 
  • non-UMass email lists in which the recipient has supplied their preferred name

Use personalization with caution:

University audience lists (MC data extensions) default to the primary name or campus name unless otherwise specified. MC content creators should check the subscriber preview to ensure that the appropriate name is being used in dynamic name personalization. A preferred name in SPIRE will not be automatically available for use in email.

When emailing UMass students, staff, and faculty, communicators should carefully check data extensions and/or work closely with the CRM (Constituent Relationship Management) team to determine the appropriate use of first-name personalization before sending.

People are more comfortable with personalization when it is transactional and information that is specific to them, such as a letterhead-style announcement. Personalizing a subject line or greeting for an e-newsletter may not feel authentic and have a negative impact.

Links, content access, and data retention

“View in browser” links should not be used for any other purpose than to display an email as a web page when it is received. These links are not reliable as an internal archive or for public access to past email content.

To provide access to email content perpetually, the content should be published to a public website (in html format, and not as a PDF document), and a link to the content embedded in the email. For sensitive information, the document or information should be hosted in a secure access site (e.g., SharePoint or OneDrive), and links configured to limit access to recipients of the email.

Marketing Cloud-specific information:

  • Embedded links in emails sent from MC will be active for a maximum of 730 days.
  • Reports and the content that was sent via MC will be accessible indefinitely.